#JUSTBECAUSE for Human Rights

Following the launch of the #JUSTBECAUSE campaign headed by Thabo Horings, Tholakele Molelekwa, and Lebohang Ratje to confront societal issues in South Africa earlier this year, the initiative used Human Rights Day on 21 March to give further momentum to the project by staging a flash mob and a dialogue on Sexuality, Abuse and Discrimination in Dobsonville.

Starting at the Dorothy Nyembe Park, approximately 52 young community members carried posters featuring the “#JUSTBECAUSE hashtag linked to human rights issues facing women, children and minority gender groups and sang Mkhonto Wesizwe, Mayibuye iAfrica and the national anthem causing a buzz of curiosity among bystanders as they marched to Elias Motsoaledi Road, the main road in Dobsonville.

Posters included slogans such as “#JUSTBECAUSE I’m lesbian does not mean that when you rape me, I will change to be a woman”.

According to Thabo, the aim is to use the #JUSTBECAUSE slogan to create awareness of and stimulate conversation about the on-going human rights violations that many groups continue to face on a daily basis.

The #JUSTBECAUSE dialogue was held at the Bokamoso Community Project, an initiative established by Kefilwe Ndaba in 2013 to provide social upliftment training for women in the community in areas such as sustainable vegetable gardening, baking for profit and after school child care and supervision.

Apostle Mpho Kedijang opened the dialogue with a prayer to bless those in attendance while the dialogue was expertly chaired by Dineo Mahao. The programme included former high school teacher and Dobsonville counselor, Jafta Lekgetho who contextualised the history and significance of Human Rights Day, Benjy Francis, the founder and director of The Afrika Cultural Centre and The Film Club Project, which uses film to stimulate arts and culture movements around social rights violations and ACTIVATE! facilitator, Lerato Mahoyi, the founder of Hands Up, who shared her story of rape survival.

“Stembile Zondo, a fellow Activator shared two poems with the audience. We included poetry on the programme so that participants could gain insight into this form of self-expression and communication. It is about having your voice heard and expressing yourself while allowing your audience to interpret the message in their own ways, based on issues in their own lives,” explains Horings.

The event finished with a gum boot dance provided by the Bokamoso After School Club.

See below for the two poems shared at the #JUSTBECAUSE Human Rights Day campaign.

 1st Poem: [where do we stand?]

lost in the belly, deep in the valley of life’s transgression;
where I stand in this situation.
Where do I stand?
Where do you stand?
when we as black children still discriminate against each other,
Where do I stand….

Where do you stand?……
When the crowds shout for justice?……
Where do you stand?…..
When the children go hungry…..
With nothing to eat……
Where do you stand?…….
When the soldiers burn and loot….
Or the government keeps the people down?….

Where do you stand?…….
When you see a man holding a sign willing to work for food?…..
Where do you stand?……..
When women are victimized?
Is it the freedom we desire and long for?…

Yet we speak of freedom…
Where do you stand when you see the unemployed?…..
Lines of men and women nearly a mile long……
Men and women looking for work…..
Will you stand for them?……
Will you stand with them?………
Or will you just do what you’ve always done……..
Sit by and do nothing?

2nd Poem [Salute iMbokodo]

How black is she,
As black as beautiful
What does she look like to you?
Does she look like a punching bag?
Or no she is a black woman
I salute the she
I salute the one who puts abo baby Jack bomkokotelo behind bars
I salute imbokodo

How black is she?
As black as beautiful
What does she look like to you?
Does she looks like a sex top
Oh No
She is a black woman
I salute the she
I salute the one who puts the rapist behind bars
I salute imbokodo

How black is she?
As black as beautiful
What does she look like to you?
Does she look like the door mate?
Oh No
She is a black woman
I salute the she
I salute the one who’s stands for her ground
I salute imbokodo

How black is she?
As black as beautiful
What does she look like to you?
She is An African
I salute imbokodo

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